Grandville Students Reboot & Suceed After Stolen Robots

Posted at 7:20 PM, Mar 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-10 23:55:43-04

GRANDVILLE, Mich.– It’s a lesson that applies to life in general. Sometimes things just don’t go as planned and you have to adapt.

That’s exactly what a group of students at Grandville High School did after being thrown for a loop just before a major competition in Canada.

The Grandville High School RoboDawgs  had just arrived in Toronto for the East Regional FIRST Robotic Competition last Wednesday when they realized one of the team trailers had been stolen from the hotel parking lot.

All of the team’s luggage, computers, control stations, robot attachments, and back-up robots for the competition were gone.  An estimated $40,000 in stolen property.

“It was a bit more difficult, we had to come up with some fairly creative solutions for the parts that we were missing, ” explains team member Frank Dara.

Instead of getting down about it, the students rallied around one another and rebuilt the missing parts.

“We  missed meals sometimes and then had to catch up later with the food. We missed breaks and spent a lot of time under the robot and in the pit,” said junior Mike Hepfer.

It paid off. With the support of other teams and a quick visit to a supply store, the team had to reprogram, rebuild, and reboot.

“I think it is a lot like the business world because variables often change on you,” said Hepfer.  “You just have to adapt to the situation.”

The team ended up playing all the way to the quarterfinals.

The RoboDawgs will hold their annual open house and silent auction on Marth 14 at the Grandville High School Robotics and Engineering Center, located at 4900 Canal SW, to help recover their losses. The event runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m.